It has been a tiring week as I have been working full time while Sheila, my job-sharer, has been away on holiday. So when I came home from work on Friday I was looking forward to a lazy evening and a nice early night. Instead I spent most of yesterday evening assisting in amateur housebreaking.
My downstairs neighbour rang my doorbell at about seven. He had left his keys at someone’s house with no way of retrieving them before today and he couldn’t get into his flat. He spent a long time trying to open the security deadlock using various things poked in through the letterbox. (Three of my coathangers died in this cause and I have an electric cable in need of hospitalisation: the plug came off while it was being used as a lasso.) After an hour of futile endevour, we rang the housing association out-of-hours service to get someone called-out to open the door. Meanwhile my neighbour went back downstairs to keep on trying to do it himself.
After another three hours, a chap from the housing association’s repair company turned up from Telford in a van. He wasn’t a specialist locksmith and was a bit stumped. After taking a good look at my front door for comparison, he and my neighbour got the back of the letterbox off with a crowbar. My neighbour had already managed to unbolt the front of the letterbox from outside, using one of my spanners, but he couldn’t remove the inside section. After that they were taking turns at reaching in through the letterbox hole, trying to get the doorknob to turn using an adjustable wrench. Quite impressive gymnastics (I should have taken photos), but to no effect.
The repair man was just about to give up and get a jigsaw to cut a piece out of the door when, on the umpteenth attempt, my neighbour finally hit the jackpot with the wrench. There was a loud click and an even louder sigh of relief all round. Mission accomplished.
It was half past ten. I collected up my tools and went to bed.